Sunday, 10 May 2009

Woe to him who is alone

You don’t have to be a Christian long before you realise that Christians fall and fail as much as anyone. Having God on (and by) our side is no guarantee that we will float through life on a cloud of perfection, protected from the big bad world and the “sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12.1) Which is why I was much heartened by a conversation between a man and a monk. The man asked the monk: “Tell me what is it that you do in the monastery?” The monk replied: “I fall and get up, fall and get up, fall and get up again.”

What a wonderful answer particularly to those who think that becoming a monk is about running away from the world and hiding away in a monastery. Monks fail as do all Christians. But what makes their (and our) lives different to everyone else is that we are not alone. There are others who will help us up:

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. “ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

For the monk (and the Christian) there are others who will help and support him as he falls and gets up. They are his brothers in Christ. And binding them all together is the third strand – God.

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